Steel, brass, bone; leather, brass, gilding
Overall: 30 3/4 x 4 3/8 x 7/8 in. ( 78.1 x 11.1 x 2.2 cm )
maker's mark: on obverse of blade near hilt: "N. P. AMES / CULTER / SPRINGFIELD"
Sword with slightly curved, single-edged steel blade with etched designs on obverse and reverse; brass hilt cast in five pieces; bone grip carved with fan and feather motifs and parallel diagonal lines; cross quillons with acorn finials cast in one piece with serpentine knuckle-bow (hinged oval counter-guards missing on obverse and reverse); eagle-head pommel with backstrap; leather scabbard with gilded brass upper band, middle band, and tip, all with shaped edges with engraved decoration; the upper band has an oval frog stud with molded floral decoration, and each band has a single carrying ring; fouled anchor engraved on reverse of middle band, and oak leaf and acorn spray engraved on reverse of tip.
According to the accession records, this sword belonged to U.S. Navy Captain Richard Dale (1756-1826). This example is very similar to a type designated in 1841 as the only permissible model for naval officers; however, this does not mean that certain elements of this design and even swords completely of this pattern were not worn a few years prior to this time (see "The American Sword, 1775-1945," p. 159). Note that our example appears to be somewhat smaller than the standard model.
Gift of John Sanford Barnes
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.